Vitamin D dosing for heart health needs to change, shows study

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Recent research by Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City has raised important questions about the effectiveness of current Vitamin D dosing recommendations in preventing cardiac events.

Despite known associations between low Vitamin D levels and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, two new studies suggest that the standard dosing guidelines may not be sufficient for achieving optimal Vitamin D levels in patients.

Key Findings from Intermountain Health Studies

The researchers discovered that much higher doses than the current U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of 600 to 800 International Units (IU) are often required. In some cases, patients needed over 10,000 IU to reach optimal Vitamin D levels.

Inadequate Dosing in Clinical Trials: Lead author Heidi May, PhD, an epidemiologist at Intermountain Health, pointed out that previous studies did not use adequate Vitamin D doses, possibly leading to misleading results.

Tailored Vitamin D Treatment: The research emphasizes the need for a personalized approach to Vitamin D supplementation. According to Viet T. Le, DMSc, PA-C, a researcher at Intermountain Health, a tailored approach is crucial for effective treatment.

The Target-D Clinical Trial: A Closer Look

The Target-D trial enrolled patients who had experienced a cardiovascular event within 30 days of study enrollment. The trial’s goal was to raise patients’ 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to more than 40 nanograms per ml (ng/mL), considered optimal in this study. Key observations include:

High Doses Required: Nearly 90% of participants in the targeted treatment group needed Vitamin D supplementation. A significant portion required doses well above the standard recommendation.

Time to Achieve Optimal Levels: Many patients took three to six months or more to reach the desired Vitamin D level, even with higher dosing.

Implications for Future Research and Treatment

The findings from Intermountain Health suggest that:

Reevaluation of Vitamin D Supplementation: There is a need to reevaluate how Vitamin D is used in clinical trials, particularly in studies exploring its role in heart health.

Importance of Personalized Medicine: The studies underscore the importance of personalized medicine in determining the right dosage of supplements for individual patients.


The research from Intermountain Health serves as a call for a more intentional and tailored approach to Vitamin D supplementation, especially in patients at risk for heart-related issues.

This could mean rethinking current dosing guidelines and adopting a more personalized treatment plan to ensure patients achieve and maintain optimal Vitamin D levels for better heart health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, stroke, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.

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